By Lynda Jensen
HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN Once again, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA team brought home hardware from the national convention Oct. 21-24 in Indianapolis, IN.
Nineteen members from the HLWW chapter travelled to experience the 82nd National Convention, according to FFA Reporter William Schanus.
FFA Advisor Jim Weninger expressed satisfaction with the results, saying it went well.
Out of the 19 members, there were eight delegates, four nursery/landscape competitors, one National FFA band flutist, four American Degree recipients, Justin Crowley for the U of M Agricultural Education Department, and Crystal Jones, Minnesota state officer.
“Rebecca Groos, Sarah Marketon, Katie Hirsch, Ashley Murphy, Vlada Bakshayeva, Anna Yakovleva, William Schanus, and Becca Plamann went down to Indy as our chapter’s delegates,” Schanus reported.
While at nationals, the students attended sessions, and workshops that were intended to promote personal growth, premier leadership, and career success.
HLWW was placed as a two-star chapter. The honor was accepted by Rebecca Groos and Schanus, who were chosen by the chapter to do so.
Apart from the sessions they were able to explore the career show, and shop in the FFA mall. The career show consisted of booths that featured multiple businesses in the National FFA Center.
“It was certainly interesting to be able to see the various aspects of agriculture and how it can be applied to different job settings,” Schanus commented.
HLWW’s Nursery/Landscape team was the lone competitors for the chapter. They did phenomenal, as the team was fourth out of 41 teams.
Individually, Justin Simpson won a $500 scholarship, placing fourth.
In addition, Doreen Lorentz placed 17th, Jacob Demarias 19th, and Jackson Houston 30th, out of 154 people competing.
“All the hard work finally paid off and plant identification will be imprinted into their brains forever,” Schanus noted.
The competition covered a wide variety of plant, tool, and disease identification, verbal communications, team presentation potting plants, and assessment solution.
Four individuals; Courtney Heuer, AJ Fasching, Sara Butterfass, and Robert Westman were given the highest degree possible in FFA, the American Degree.
Through years of hard work, dedication and perserverance these members were able to claim this honor.
There are certain requirements that must be met for someone in the FFA to receive this final degree.
The student must:
• have received the state FFA degree, obtaining a satisfactory participation in activities on the chapter and state levels;
• have been a active member for the past three years;
• completed at least three years of systematic secondary school instruction in an agricultural education program or 360 hours of systematic secondary school instruction in ag. education and one year of enrollment in a post secondary ag. program of ag. education offered in the secondary school last attended;
• have graduated 12 months prior to the national convention, where the degree will be given;
• have maintained records on a supervised agricultural experience and earned or productively invested $7,500, and
• finally, have a record of outstanding leadership and a high school scholastic of a “C” or better.
Sabrina Kieser was the only member from the entire state of Minnesota to play in the National FFA Band. It was a great accomplishment for her individually to have qualified for this honor.
Months of preparing music finally paid off as they played multiple songs that were very enjoyable and exciting for everyone, Schanus noted in his report.
A wide variety of music was performed, such as from the Beatles, Academy Nights Remembered, James Bond, and Stevie Wonder.
HLWW’s two Russian foreign exchange students, Anna and Vlada, attended a World Link seminar while in Indiana.
They were able to meet other exchange students from across America. A meal was provided for all the pupils who attended and each individual was able to listen to music from their own country. They got a chance to look into what the organization is all about, and how it affects the huge scale of things.
Out of 475 delegates from across the nation, Crystal Jones had the privelage to vote on National FFA issues. It was a great honor for her to be able to represent all of the members from her chapter and state in deciding upon these large subjects.
“Overall, it was a phenomenal experience for everyone to attend!” Schanus reported. “In my mind, everyone who wishes to be spectacularly wowed should definitely participate in FFA national convention because you will be blown away by how amazing it is, and what an awesome organization you’re part of.”
The HLWW FFA alumni, HLWW FFA, and the Waverly Lions sponsored the trip to nationals.